Mike Jacobs

Senior energy analyst

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Michael Jacobs is a senior energy analyst with expertise in electricity markets, transmission and renewables integration work. See Mike's full bio.

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Photo: UK Parliament

What Do Brexit and Energy Markets Have in Common? A lot.

To an observer of both, there are some irresistible parallels between the fiasco called Brexit and the stumbling of the US Mid-Atlantic/Midwest grid operator PJM over climate policy. The deadline is fast approaching for the UK’s long-awaited decision and still there’s no clarity, no plans and no transparency from the policymakers involved. I can’t help but be reminded of another fiasco of a deadline that is fast approaching on US energy plans.

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Photo: UK Parliament
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Photo: Pictures of Money/Flickr

The $2.5 Billion Question Waiting at FERC

The electricity industry is watching closely for news that will raise consumer costs some $2.5 billion per year.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to change the payments for new and old power plants in 13 states. This decision has been delayed a year by the resignation of a commissioner leaving split FERC and has an added feature: it tramples on state policies and prerogatives. Read more >

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Photo: Ma. William Carraway/Wikimedia Commons

An Absence of Energy Leadership in a Climate Crisis

State officials have a variety of policies and goals for the electricity supply for each of their states, from rate stability and economic development incentives, to ambitious renewable goals, to health and safety protections for workers and consumers. Governors and legislators are closer to constituents and respond to the interests of their communities more directly than a regional utility or federal agency. And in light of the federal government’s abdication of numerous duties, this is more true now than ever before. Read more >

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Energy Collision Coming: Technology Evolved, Why Haven’t Utilities?

Our modern economy depends on electricity, the miracle technology of the 19th century.  Many old policies and practices of the electric utility industry have stuck with us into the 21st century.  Electricity has had heroes and villains along the way, as well as enormous accomplishments of engineering, public service and safety.  While economics and public attitudes have changed about many things since the first electric bill was sent in January 1883, there are tools and techniques, as well as attitudes in the utility industry that do not change as much.  To serve society and maintain a healthy environment, we need a utility industry open to modern ideas and new approaches.

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How Big is Gridlock in our Electric Grid?

Progress in electric power, particularly the growth of renewable energy and consumer choice, is looking like gridlock.  Look closer and we can see three fundamental issues: state policy vs. federal policy; changing perspectives on reliability, and how electric grid planning should accommodate the ongoing transition to renewable energy. We even have gridlock in the appointment and continuity of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that oversees much of the decision making in these spaces.

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Photo: AWEA
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